Weekly Wire
Nashville Scene It's an iMac, Dave

Apple focuses on Millennium Bug, new colors

By James Hanback Jr.

JANUARY 19, 1999:  Ladies and gentlemen, now strutting its way down the technology catwalk is the brand new iMac from Apple Computer! Yes, this new iMac sports a myriad of translucent colors (four new colors besides the original teal) and is fully Y2K compliant for all your computing needs. It's even got a brand new spokesman, the Hal 9000 from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Sound far-fetched? It's true. Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announced last week that the company is releasing the iMac, its best-selling Mac of all time, in four new translucent colors besides its original teal. Not a single one of the new colors is beige.

Not only that, but the desktop G3, Apple's best-selling machine prior to the iMac, is also changing its style to match that of its popular little brother. The new G3s have the translucent teal color, along with new hardware that features up to 100 gigabytes of storage space and one gigabyte of RAM, all packed into a smaller mini-tower case.

For those curious about the new look of the iMac, you'll soon find the them in shades of green, red, purple, and orange.

Big deal, you say? Well, it gets better. Amid the announcement that Apple Computer has completed its fifth consecutive profitable quarter, Jobs also said that the iMac will get a minor price slash along with its new colors, approximately $100 per unit. Also, tacking its own style into the Millennium Bug hype, the company is reminding consumers that the Macintosh (both hardware and operating system) has been Y2K-compliant since it was invented, way back in 1984.

If you didn't know before, the fact that Y2K has been mentioned in nearly every technology-related article (including this column) and on every news service every day since 1998 turned into 1999 should clue you in to the Y2K issue.

In its first-ever exclusively Web-run film ad ( http://www.apple.com/hotnews/features/hal.html. ), Apple Computer has summoned the dark villain of 2001 (the Hal 9000) to speak on behalf of the Mac's Y2K-compliancy, along with a little "told ya so" in a text introduction to the film.

"According to Information Week, the tab for the Year 2000 sofware fix will hit $600 billion," the introduction reads. "Had IT professionals realized back then [1984] that Apple technology was immune to the millennium bug, they might have succumbed to temptation--and saved themselves a bundle in the process."

Hal adds his own ominous message. "Remember in the year 2000 when all the computers began to misbehave?" he asks. "It was a bug, Dave."

Mac fanatics are probably jumping for joy. Not only is Apple a player again; it's Y2K compliant and always has been.

Additionally, the company's market share has jumped to a little more than 10 percent since August.

For industry watchers, the renewed interest in Apple and its products bears their attention. Why? In 1984, the Macintosh revolutionized personal computing and was the source of invention for desktop publishing. How could Apple's new line of products compare with that feat of innovation? Watch the changes in the outer design of other computer makers in the coming year. You'll see.

LION roars on the Web

Local real estate agents have something new to roar about. Last year, Middle Tennessee Regional Multiple Listings Service (MTRMLS) created two new innovations on the World Wide Web, allowing both agents and buyers to browse listings for homes and real estate online.

MTRLMS real estate agents use the Internet to get home listing information. The online MLS system is a browser-based, open-platform system. There are more than 5,700 users in 648 offices in the 19-county primary coverage area, making it the largest MLS in Tennessee.

Now, Lenders Interactive Online Network (LION) has announced the opening of a Web site which provides MTRMLS Inc. real estate agents with even more--retail mortgage information. The database is accessible to agents via a hyperlink from the MTRMLS Web site.

"This Web site is a win for everyone," said Joe Ringer, executive vice president of LION. "Realtors are able to assist customers online using LION's calculator tools to determine their affordability and payments, then show them up-to-date mortgage information, and then submit the customer information by email or fax to a mortgage broker."

AOL/Netscape won't affect Microsoft

After words in the Washington Post from America Online CEO Steve Case that indicated the new merger between AOL and Netscape would not put the company in a competitive stance against Microsoft's Windows operating system, a judge in the government's antitrust case against Microsoft has changed his mind.

Previously, the judge said the merger between the two Internet giants could pose a competitive threat to Microsoft's operating sytem marketplace dominance, possibly ending the antitrust trial. Case's arguments have apparently persuaded him otherwise.

Microsoft attorneys pointed out that the deal offers competition with Microsoft in the Web portal market. The software giant was quickly reminded that the antitrust case is about Microsoft's attempts to control the Web browser market. It is not about portal competition.

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